Thursday, February 19, 2015

Painters District Council 14, Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Painters District Council 14, Chicago (1956) Vitzthum & Burns, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

At first glance this little, limestone box looks like it might have been built sometime in the late 1920s, or maybe early 30s, during the age of jazz and Art Deco decor. But, it was actually built in 1956, designed by architects Vitzthum & Burns for Painters District Council 14.

  [Painters District Council 14, Chicago, 1456 W. Adams Street, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Since 1920, the Council's offices had been located in an old rowhouse just a few doors down at 1446 W. Adams Street on Chicago's near west side. They had purchased the home of Dr. Florenz Ziegfeld, father of the Follies impresario, where the director of the Chicago Musical College had moved his family in 1882. The Council owned a corner lot 100 feet west of the Ziegfeld place and by the early 50s decided it was time to leave their 85-year-old building for a brand new home.

  [Painters District Council 14, Chicago, Near West Side, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Council, founded in 1887 as the Brotherhood of Painters and Decorators of America, played a big role in helping to establish the 5 day-a-week, 8 hour workday. The organization grew to include wallpaper hangers, and kept on expanding to become the overseers of a variety of trades who still add the final touches to a building. John Burns died in 1956, but his business partner of 40 years Karl Vitzthum, practiced architecture until his death in 1967 at the age of 87. Burns and his wife Elizabeth were the parents of 8 children, and named one of their sons Thomas Vitzthum Burns, in honor of John's friend and associate. When Thomas Vitzthum died in 1999, his life was fondly remembered by his widow, their 6 sons, and 15 daughters.

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